Broadside No. 6 – Robin McKinley

Ahoy there me mateys!  Welcome to the sixth broadside – the Robin McKinley edition.  I adore her and thought I had read all of her books.  Turns out I have only read 11 of 16. I missed one novel and four short story collections.  Oops!  I will certainly remedy that.

Please note: All book descriptions are taken directly from the author’s website.  The book title links lead to Goodreads.

I definitely remember the first book I read of hers.  It was called the blue sword . . .

This is the story of Corlath, golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfok, son of the sons of the Lady Aerin.

And this is the story of Harry Crewe, the Outlander orphan girl who became Harimad-sol, King’s Rider, and bearer of the Blue Sword, Gonturan, the sword Lady Aerin carried, the sword only a woman may wield, for it will turn in the hand of a man.

This book came out in 1982 and was a Newbery Honor Book in 1983.  I am not sure of me age when I read it but I know I loved the main character, Harry.  There was a sword that had to be used by a girl!  A bit of romance but not too much.  Adventure!  Excitement.  And I loved the setting of Damar.  I am also not sure whether Tamora Pierce’s writing or this author’s came first in me life but both were responsible for me falling in love with strong female heroines who kick butt.  I should re-read this novel now that I think about it as the details are not fresh which makes revisiting Damar a fun prospect.

The second book in the series is the hero and the crown.  I loved this more than book one only because it features dragons, well one in particular . . .

There is no place in the country of Damar for Aerin, the king’s daughter, who is also the daughter of a witchwoman; and so she befriends her father’s crippled war-horse, Talat, and teases her cousin Tor into teaching her to handle a sword.

But it is Aerin who rediscovers the old recipe for dragonfire-proof kenet, and when the army is called away to the other side of the country, it is she who, alone but for Talat, rides out to confront Maur, the Black Dragon, the last of the Great Dragons, for centuries thought dead.

I mean seriously doesn’t that description make ye want to run to the market and get yer own copy right now?  It also won the Newbery Medal in 1985.  Aerin’s learning process about dragons was awesome.  So very very good.  I will leave it at that.

Other than the Damar duology with its short story collection (one I missed), the author also has a thing for fairy tale re-tellings.  She has retold Beauty and the Beast (twice), Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, the Pegasus myth, and Allerleirauh (which is a nasty fairy tale).  One of my favorites is rose daughter.

When their father’s business fails, three sisters move to a tiny neglected cottage far away from anything they have ever known. Beauty tends the awkward, unknown, thorny plants that surround it, and when they bloom the following summer an old woman tells her: “Roses are for love. Not silly sweethearts’ love but the love that makes you and keeps you whole. . . there aren’t many roses around any more because they need more love than people have to give them to make them flower.”
And when Beauty takes her father’s place at the terrifying Beast’s palace she discovers that the Beast’s beloved rose garden is dying. . . .

If non-twilight vampires are yer thing then try sunshine . . .

Rae, nicknamed Sunshine by her stepfather, is the baker at her family’s coffeehouse. She’s happy getting up at 4 am to make cinnamon rolls for the breakfast rush, and dealing with people and food all day. But one evening she needed somewhere she could be alone for a little while, and there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years.
She never thought of vampires.
Until they found her.

Or if ye need more dragons (cause who doesn’t) then try dragonhaven . . .

Dragons are extinct in the wild, but the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park is home to about two hundred of the world’s remaining Draco australiensis. Humans have never seen a baby dragon . . . until Jake discovers a dying dragon that has just given birth, and one of the dragonlets is still alive.

Ho me hearties!  Just find something written by Robin McKinley and read it.  Then tell the Captain what ye thought.

So that is my introduction to Robin McKinley.  If you haven’t read any of her novels I would suggest ye hoist those sails and get moving!

To visit her website go to:

Robin McKinley – Author

To see a complete list of all books she has written visit:

Robin McKinley – Books

To add this author or her novels to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

If ye want to see me other author broadsides:

Garth Nix – No. 1

Sharon Shinn – No. 2

John Scalzi – No. 3

Tamora Pierce – No. 4

Brandon Sanderson – No. 5


18 thoughts on “Broadside No. 6 – Robin McKinley

  1. McKinley is one of my favorite authors too. The first book I read by her was The Hero and the Crown, which I loved. I also read her fairytale retellings, which are also great. Loved Spindle’s End. Deerskin was good too but I’ve forgotten much of it and I have Sunshine but haven’t yet read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some of my favorites! I adore The Blue Sword and Sunshine (and Deerskin, and Beauty, and … you get the picture!). I haven’t read her last two novels, but they’re on my horizon somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

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